Two GOP heavyweights from Florida sparred early on in Wednesday night’s CNBC Republican debate.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), who have been increasingly at odds over the past several weeks, went back and forth in an exchange that revolved around Rubio’s poor Senate-attendance record.
Rubio was asked about an editorial in the Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper Wednesday that said he should resign.
“This is another example of the double standard that exists in this country between the mainstream media and the conservative movement,” Rubio said, to loud applause.
Bush, unprompted, then interjected.
“Can I bring something up here? Because I’m a constituent of the senator and I helped him and I expected that he would do constituent service, which means that he shows up to work,” Bush said.
“He’s a gifted politician. But Marco, when you signed up for this, this was a six-year term. And you should be showing up to work. I mean, literally, the Senate — what is it, like a French work week? You get like three days where you have to show up?”
Bush added: “You can campaign, or just resign and let someone else take the job.”
Rubio was clearly eager to hit back.
“I get to respond, right?” the senator asked the moderators.
“You know how many votes John McCain missed when he carrying out that furious comeback that you’re now modelling [your campaign] after? Let me tell you: I don’t remember you ever complaining about John McCain’s vote record. The only reason that you’re doing it now is because we’re running for the same position and someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you.”